Coronavirus summary: deaths, cases, news - 21 May

Coronavirus live global updates: cases, deaths and news - 21 May

US reports a further 1,255 covid-19 related deaths in the past 24 hours as President Donald Trump announces that all flags on Federal Buildings and National Monuments will fly at half-staff over the next three days in memory of the Americans who have lost their lives to coronavirus....

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In pictures (New Zealand): Sam Sutherland fixes seat arm rest tables in the Tivoli cinema in preparation for opening at Matakana Cinemas on May 22, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand. Matakana Cinema will re-open on May 28 with the three cinemas operating at a reduced capacity in Covid-19 level two to allow for social distancing between seats and in the foyer. Matakana Cinema has updated their online booking system to include contact tracing, automatic seat spacing between groups and a more contactless option for patrons during their cinema experience.

The easing of COVID-19 Alert Level 2 restrictions on business, gatherings and travel were eased in three stages across New Zealand starting from 14 May 2020. Restaurants, cinemas, retail, playgrounds and gyms are now able to open with physical distancing and strict hygiene measures in place while gatherings are limited to 10 people. Domestic travel has resumed and schools and early childhood centres are also open again. New Zealand was placed under full lockdown on March 26 in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

In pictures (New Zealand): Sam Sutherland fixes seat arm rest tables in the Tivoli cinema in preparation for opening at Matakana Cinemas on May 22, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand. Matakana Cinema will re-open on May 28 with the three cinemas operating at a reduced capacity in Covid-19 level two to allow for social distancing between seats and in the foyer. Matakana Cinema has updated their online booking system to include contact tracing, automatic seat spacing between groups and a more contactless option for patrons during their cinema experience.

The easing of COVID-19 Alert Level 2 restrictions on business, gatherings and travel were eased in three stages across New Zealand starting from 14 May 2020. Restaurants, cinemas, retail, playgrounds and gyms are now able to open with physical distancing and strict hygiene measures in place while gatherings are limited to 10 people. Domestic travel has resumed and schools and early childhood centres are also open again. New Zealand was placed under full lockdown on March 26 in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

The major slowdown of activity worldwide has led to 17% decrease in global carbon emmissions, a study has found...

 Brazil suffers record 1,188 daily coronavirus deaths

Brazil registered a record of 1,188 daily coronavirus deaths on Thursday, with more than 20,000 total fatalities from the coronavirus outbreak, the Health Ministry said. Brazil now has 310,087 confirmed cases, the ministry said, just a few thousand fewer than world No. 2 hot spot Russia, which trails the United States. (report by Reuters)

NBA has begun steps to resuming the 2019/20 season...

Italy's death toll may be 60% higher than assumed

Italy’s coronavirus death toll in March and April could be nearly 19,000 higher than the official figure of 32,000, according to the national social security agency, which said in a new study that the official death figures were not “reliable”.

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Bolsonaro will sign $10.7 bln coronavirus package but wants public pay freeze

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro said he will sign off on Thursday or Friday a 60 billion-real ($10.72 billion) federal aid program for states and cities hit by coronavirus, but asked governors for support freezing public sector pay increases. The bill to distribute federal money to states and municipalities was approved by Congress earlier this month. However, Bolsonaro has not signed off on it due to pressure from Economy Minister Paulo Guedes, an avowed free-marketeer who wants more fiscal austerity.

Bolsonaro is under growing pressure for his handling of the outbreak, which looks set to destroy the Brazilian economy and threatens his re-election hopes. In the coming days, Brazil is likely to become the world No. 2 in terms of confirmed coronavirus cases, behind only to the United States. Nearly 19,000 have died so far from the virus in Brazil, with 291,579 confirmed cases. The true number of infections and deaths is likely to be higher as Brazil has not been carrying out widespread testing. Bolsonaro's relationship with governors and mayors has grown increasingly bitter.

The president is angry over shutdowns they have implemented to stop the virus' spread and argues that keeping the economy running is more important. In return for signing off on the aid package, Bolsonaro asked governors for their backing in specific measures freezing public sector pay increases for two years. Speaking later on Thursday, Bolsonaro said it was normal for governments to begin to lose some popularity after more than a year in office. (report by Reuters/photo: EFE)

Another 2.4m Americans join the jobless list, bringing the total to 38.6 million...

France sees slight slowdown in growth rate of new cases 

France has reported 318 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, representing a growth rate of 0.2%, which is slightly slower than the day before. 

There were with 83 Covid-19-related deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 28,215.

Stark figures from NYC...

UK test and trace system is on course for June 1 - health minister

Britain's health minister said the health service's COVID-19 smartphone app was working on the Isle of Wight, where it is being trialled, and the country's test and trace operation would be ready to launch on June 1 when the lockdown is further eased.

"We are absolutely clear that the test and trace system needs to be in place, and that is on track for delivery on 1 June," Matt Hancock said on Thursday. "The app is working in the Isle of Wight. We want to make sure this whole system lands well and supports the ability safely to make changes to social distancing rules." (report by Reuters)

A new report says emissions have saw their biggest drop in recorded memory. The forced habits we are adopting during the coronavirus lockdown means they probably won't last though. 

Amazon taps into food delivery services in India

Amazon.com Inc is rolling out services to deliver food in India, pitting it against established players Swiggy and Zomato in a market that has seen explosive growth in the last few years.

Amazon already has a strong presence in India with its e-commerce business and the food delivery services would only add an attractive option for the company that has been investing heavily in the country.

"Customers have been telling us for some time that they would like to order prepared meals on Amazon in addition to shopping for all other essentials," an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement, adding that the company had rolled out the feature in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru.

Spain's daily coronavirus death toll below 50

Spain's daily death toll from the novel coronavirus was 48, the Health Ministry said on Thursday, marking the first time it has dipped below 50 since March 16.

The cumulative death toll was 27,940, while the number of confirmed cases rose by 482 to 233,037, the ministry said.

City living 

The World Health Organisation anticipates that 2/3 of the world's population will be living in large cities come 2050.

Avoid the dummies

Mannequins dressed in clown hats and couture frocks have taken up seats in restaurants in Lithuania's capital, to coax real customers back after the coronavirus lockdown and help them out with social distancing.

Bernie ter Braak said he came up with the idea when he reopened his Cozy restaurant in Vilnius' old town and saw how empty it looked. Even when customers started coming back in, he had to obey restrictions and keep every second table clear, killing the atmosphere. So he asked local designers to dress up some mannequins and seat them at the quarantined tables.

'When we had all the mannequins sitting in their places, at once it felt like a full restaurant, it gave a much better vibe,' the 47-year-old told Reuters. 'We felt that, hey, it's working!'

Lockdown plot losing

A 34-year-old was injured in Madrid on Wednesday night and taken to hospital. Protesters are angry at the government's Covid-19 response, while counter-protesters support the lockdown.

Brits attack police and health workers

More than 300 prosecutions were carried out for attacks on police and other emergency workers during the first month of the lockdown in Britain to curb the Covid-19 pandemic, the Crown Prosecution Service said on Thursday, via Reuters.

The 313 attacks usually involved officers and emergency staff being coughed or spat at by people claiming to have the virus, while there were another 62 prosecutions involving assaults on shop workers, the CPS said.

'It is disgraceful that hard-working essential workers continue to be abused during a health emergency and I have warned repeatedly that anyone doing so faces serious criminal charges,' said Max Hill, the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Hill has warned that anyone coughing or spitting at emergency workers who said they had the novel coronavirus would face assault charges and possibly two years in jail.

Canned Cannes sees cars congregate

The Riviera resort of Cannes should have been playing host to the world's biggest names in film. Instead, with its annual film festival postponed and the red carpet rolled up, locals made do with a drive-in cinema in a beachfront car park.

As dusk fell, the audience settled down in their convertible sports cars and family run-arounds, popcorn on the dashboard and children hanging out the windows, to watch Steven Spielberg's 1980s Classic E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

With cinemas, theatres and restaurants still closed as France cautiously unwinds its coronavirus lockdown, people were content to watch a movie outdoors on a balmy evening on the Mediterranean coast. 'You've got to make the most of the moment. It makes up for things a bit,' said one woman.

Environmental plus

The Covid-19 pandemic has ravaged countries around the globe, but the world as a whole has felt one particular benefit.

Covid-19 will not be forgotten

China precautions

'Hundreds of thousands' just in case.

Big vaccine order by the US

The U.S. government has ordered 300 million doses of a potential Covid-19 virus being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and hopes first doses can be made available by October, the Department of Health and Human Services said on Thursday, via Reuters.

'This contract with AstraZeneca is a major milestone in Operation Warp Speed’s work toward a safe, effective, widely available vaccine by 2021,' HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement.

Singapore trials

All around the world progress is being made to some degree on finding a vaccine.

Hydroxychloroquine trial begins in UK

British healthcare workers will on Thursday begin taking part in a University of Oxford-led international trial of two anti-malarial drugs to see if they can prevent Covid-19, including one U.S. President Donald Trump says he has been taking.

The 'COPCOV' study will involve more than 40,000 frontline healthcare workers from Europe, Africa, Asia and South America to determine if chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are effective in preventing the novel coronavirus.

The drugs have risen to prominence since Trump said earlier this week he was taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventive medicine against the virus despite medical warnings about its use. (Reuters)

China

Delegates wearing face masks attend the opening of the third plenary session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing, China, 21 May 2020.

This meeting and the National People's Congress (NPC) were initially planned to be held in March 2020 but were postponed amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (EFE/EPA/ANDY WONG / POOL)

Malaria drug use in Brazil's widens 

Brazil's health ministry issued new guidelines for wider use of anti-malarial drugs in mild coronavirus cases, a treatment touted by President Jair Bolsonaro in defiance of public health experts warning of possible health risks. (Reuters)

Double bedding numbers

The UK's NHS is planning to double the number of critical-care beds in London, in a move designed to help hospitals navigate a second coronavirus wave without mass cancellation of other treatment.

Trump on face-to-face G7

US President Donald Trump on May 20 announced a possible revival of “face to face “ meeting of the G7 nations after earlier cancelling in-person gathering in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. 

A look back...

Yesterday saw the most new cases registered in a single day so far: 106,000. 

We still have a long way to go in this pandemic. We are very concerned about rising cases in low- and middle-income countries," said WHO’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Catch-up on all of yesterday's news here.

Coronavirus live coverage: welcome

Hello and welcome to our global coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has now registered over five million cases worldwide.

Join us for the latest news and numbers as they emerge throughout the course of the day.

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